Army Corps Signals Narrowing Nationwide Permit 12

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) not too long ago printed notice that it’s initiating a proper evaluate of Nationwide Permit (NWP) 12 slightly over a 12 months after its newest iteration took impact. NWP 12, which serves as a normal allow below Part 404 of the Clear Water Act, is designed to streamline the federal allowing course of for qualifying oil or pure gasoline pipeline actions which have insignificant environmental results. Whereas NWPs usually are legitimate for as much as 5 years, the Corps’ discover explains {that a} evaluate of the allow is correct now to think about whether or not modifications to NWP 12 could also be applicable in mild of President Biden’s directions to all federal companies below Government Order 13990 to take a recent have a look at environmental guidelines issued below the earlier administration. This evaluate additionally responds to years of ongoing litigation involving NWP 12, together with its momentary nationwide vacatur, and the 2021 re-promulgation of NWP 12 limiting it to grease and gasoline pipelines versus different pipelines or utilities.

Through the upcoming evaluate, the Corps is searching for stakeholder enter on the adequacy of NWP 12’s consideration of potential impacts of oil and gasoline pipeline actions on environmental justice, local weather change, and consuming water, in addition to sufficiency of discover supplied to impacted communities. The Corps signifies that it’ll contemplate adopting “potential off-ramps” for these considerations that may require heightened company evaluate and doubtlessly render a proposed mission ineligible for NWP 12 protection, thus requiring proponents to amass particular person permits. This might trigger substantial delays, thereby growing prices, time, power, and mitigation wanted for mission approval.

The Corps is encouraging feedback on all points of NWP 12, however included the next inquiries to information stakeholder enter:

  1. As a part of any future motion the Corps could take with respect to NWP 12, ought to the Corps contemplate utilization of the procedures in 33 CFR 330.5 upfront of the present cycle for nationwide allow evaluate?

  2. Ought to modifications be thought-about to additional guarantee NWP 12 has not more than minimal particular person and cumulative antagonistic environmental results below Part 404(e) of the Clear Water Act?

  3. Ought to modifications to NWP 12 be thought-about to offer discover to and a chance to be heard by doubtlessly impacted communities, significantly with regard to environmental justice communities?

  4. Wouldn’t it be prudent for the Corps to think about additional limits on the NWP 12, Pre-Development Notification (PCN) necessities, normal situations, and the flexibility of division and district engineers to change, droop, and revoke NWP authorizations to additional be certain that the NWP 12 causes not more than minimal cumulative antagonistic environmental results on the nationwide, regional, and website scales?

  5. Ought to distinctions be drawn between new development of oil and pure gasoline pipelines and upkeep of current oil and pure gasoline pipelines?

  6. Ought to distinctions be drawn between oil pipelines and pure gasoline pipelines, particularly in consideration of variations in general Federal regulation of various kinds of pipelines?

  7. Does the NWP 12 verification course of be certain that environmental justice and local weather change components are adequately thought-about?

  8. Are the PCN necessities for the present NWP 12 enough?

  9. Ought to there be new triggers for oil or pure gasoline pipeline actions in jurisdictional waters that mandate evaluate below a person allow?

Any feedback have to be acquired on or earlier than Might 27, 2022.

As a part of this evaluate, the Corps may also host a sequence of public and tribal digital conferences and requests for written suggestions. The general public conferences are on Might 10, 12, 17, and 19, 2022. The tribal assembly dates are Might 11 and 18, 2022. Registration for the conferences will be discovered here

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